I am an avid reader. Many would likely call me a proverbial bookworm! Now, this certainly wasn’t the case before my brain injury but I can hardly get enough books to read these days.
The most recent one I read is The Imperfect Disciple: Grace for People Who Can't Get Their Act Together by Jared C. Wilson, not to be confused with my good friend, Jarrid Wilson, who wrote the foreword to my book. When I came across this book by Jared (not Jarrid), I was intrigued by its title. I was curious to read about what it actually means or looks like to be an “imperfect disciple.” Because I was pretty sure I was one!
Now, normally, I’m a pretty fast reader. At least that’s what my wife tells me! But this book took me a while because of the many times l’d have to stop and write down what I just read. You see, with the memory problems I have following my brain injury, I figured this would be good way for me to remember and to later on be reminded of the many words from the book that convicted me the most. But then, when I was going through them, I decided that I wanted to share them with other people as well.
You cannot grow in holiness and holier-than-thou-ness at the same time.
When we withdraw from the life of Christian community and try to practice the kingdom rhythms alone, we actually quench the Spirit who gifts the church to follow Jesus as a body and defy Jesus prayer that we all be one.
A message of grace will attract people but a culture of grace will keep them.
The gospel cannot puff us up; it cannot make us prideful; it cannot make us selfish; it cannot make us arrogant; it cannot make us rude; it cannot make us gossipy; it cannot make us accusers. So it stands to reason that the more we press into the gospel, the more the gospel takes over our hearts, the less we should see those things.
Prayer, in its essence, is simply the daily explicit worship of the one who loves you more than anyone else does, and saved your life as no one else could.
If prayer is not just another thing for the checklist, but rather the thing that makes the checklist doable and if we look not for results in prayer but relationship, we might find it more appealing.
Transformation is the primary reason the written word of God exists.
It is an amazing thing that the God of the universe would refer to sinners like us as his friends.
The same gospel that empowers our conversion also powers our sanctification.
It is Jesus who both authors our faith and perfects it. It is God who is faithful both to start the work in us and to complete it.
It’s not that we don’t expend any energy. It is simply that the energy comes from God’s Spirit. It’s not we who are living but Christ who is living in us.
The more we experience the kindness of God in and through our own repentance, the more kindness we find to afford others.
Every other religion in the world has man in the gutter trying to figure out how to get to heaven; only Christianity has heaven coming down to the gutter.
It’s liberating to not be needed but to be wanted.
Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit because those who abide in Christ have transformed desires. They want the satisfaction of Christ more and the gratification of the world less.
I have heard that the definition of maturity is the ability to delay gratification.
When it comes to our dependence on God, it is all Grace or no Grace. If our standing with him rest even an ounce on our works, we are early and hopelessly lost. No, it must be Grace all the way down. We bring nothing to this relationship except our nothingness. We bring our emptiness in Christ brings his riches. We bring our pit and he brings his rope.
Less of ourselves is a good thing, because it means more of Jesus.
There is more security with Christ in the middle of a stormy sea than without Christ in the warm stillness of our bathtub.
The weird thing is that in the spiritual economy of the kingdom you find yourself by losing. You live by dying.
It is true that sometimes God doesn’t become our only hope until God becomes our only hope.
When you are in the pit of suffering-on the verge of death, even- Jesus isn’t up in heaven simply blasting you down below with some ethereal virtues. He’s not sending “good thoughts”- or worse, “good vibes”- your way. No, when you are laid low in the dark valley, when the whole world seem to be crashing down on you, when your next breath seems sure to be your last, Christ Jesus is down in the void with you, holding you.
To follow Jesus is to believe that around the corner where we cannot yet go is the most wonderful thing we could ever imagine-in fact, it is beyond imagination, beyond what we can conceive.
If you could imagine a place of otherworldly delights full of bliss and rest, a place with endless pleasure where all your loved ones are united again in a land flowing with your favorite sights and sounds and even hobbies and occupations, but Jesus were not there, this heaven of yours would be hell.
The grace that sustains us in our weakness and suffering will deliver us to worlds unspeakable.
God’s grace gives us the freedom to own up to not having our act together.
I hope that these “borrowed” words of truth from Jared’s book will help you as much as they helped me, with me being someone I guess you might also call “the imperfect disciple who wrote this blog post!”